Each of the biodiesel reactors, first one shown here, will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of biodiesel each year for a total production capacity of 900,000,000 gallons per year when operating at full capacity, which is 4 times greater than the entire U.S. output in 2006.
The first plant is currently using sunflower seed oil as feedstock, however, it is planned to switch to using algae produced with the Greenfuel Technologies Corporation system and has purchased and removed their bioreactor from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and transported it to South Africa.
Mr. Joseph LaStella, President of GSPI, stated, “The De Beers biodiesel plant is currently in operation and will include some very unique features with modifications to upgrade technology. These are:
1) GSPI reactors, which process raw materials into biodiesel in minutes (versus one to two hours for the rest of the industry), will transform the De Beers plant into a State-of-the-Art Continuous Flow Process to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs.
2) The marriage of the two biodiesel production technologies will allow plants to be constructed at a fraction of the present industry costs and can be built in record time.
Mr. de Beer’s business model also includes a franchising strategy and has already received financial commitments to build 90 biodiesel plants each at 10-million-gallons-per-year capacity.
The 2-ton reactors will be built by GSPI at their Glenns Ferry Facility in Idaho and delivered over the next 18 months. The first reactor was shipped November 8, 2006 by airfreight to South Africa.
Presently, the De Beers plant is now operating at 10,000,000 gallons per year on sunflower seed oil as feedstock and has contracted for additional feedstock for additional plants. However, the final answer for biodiesel feedstock will not be oil crops - it will be algae. For example, soybean produces only 48 gallons of oil per acre per year, canola produces 140 gallons per acre and algae can produce well over 10,000 gallons per acre. This figure has been verified in actual algae field production tests by the US Department of Energy in an 18-year Algae Study Program from 1978 – 1996. This makes algae the only worldwide feedstock capable of replacing crude oil. Making use of algae also means not competing with crops for food sources that would otherwise lead to an increase in food prices.
Mr. de Beer has made great strides to acquire the latest Algae Production Technology. In recent weeks there have been many media articles about the success of the algae bioreactor operating at MIT (see http://web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/alg-all.html) utilizing the MIT CO2 exhaust boiler emissions as feed for the algae.
Algae consumes CO2, a major Global Warming Gas. After consumption of the CO2, the algae produces oil (for biodiesel manufacturing) and oxygen. Therefore, the process of using algae creates renewable, sustainable biofuel and reduces global warming gases to better the environment.
Mr. de Beer has entered into an agreement with Greenfuel Technologies Corporation and has purchased and removed the MIT bioreactor from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and transported it to South Africa. It has been reassembled on the biodiesel plant site in Naboomspruit, South Africa, and is now awaiting the arrival of the algae to be inoculated to start production. At the Naboomspruit site construction will soon be underway at the rail spur for a crushing plant to process oil from the planting of sunflowers throughout the region. Mr. de Beer also supports, along with the development of the algae growth technology, the local farming industry that will benefit with the planting of thousands of acres of sunflowers and other feedstocks for oils to be processed into biodiesel fuel.
Most of the 90 franchised biodiesel plants are located close to electric power plants as well as other CO2 emitters, to utilize their stack emissions (CO2) to feed the algae farms when they switch over feedstock from oil seed crops to algae.
The franchising plan reduces the initial cost of the biodiesel plant significantly for participants. Franchises will only be paying in the range of 10 cents per installed gallon (depending on location and logistics), while the rest of the industry is paying $0.70 to $1.50 per installed gallon – based on National Biodiesel Board’s Chief Engineer, Steve Howell’s survey report published in Render Magazine - February 2005 issue (see www.rendermagazine.com for complete article).